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Boise State Public Radio News is here to keep you current on the news surrounding COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Southwest District Health Board Meeting Cancelled "Due To Safety Concerns"

Pat Sutphin
Protestors gathered outside South Central Public Health District in Twin Falls Wednesday. A similar scene occured outside of Southwest District Health in Caldwell Thursday morning.

The Southwest District Health board meeting was cancelled about half an hour after it was supposed to begin 8:30 a.m Thursday morning "due to safety concerns," according to a press release from the health district.

"Southwest District Health staff are safe," the release stated, "and a crisis response team has been deployed to provide support to staff."

The board was set to hear updates from local hospital officials and was scheduled to discuss and vote on public health measures, which could have included a mandatory face mask order.

For 30 minutes, it appeared the board was having trouble connecting to the Zoom meeting it set up, but then a board member indicated the meeting was being cancelled due to protestors outside the Caldwell office building. The board member said local law enforcement was concerned about the number of protestors there. 

The scene outside the Southwest District Health building was captured in a video shared on Facebook by a protestor. It shows Ammon Bundy and other protestors trying to get in the building and a health district employee blocking the entrance. Bundy appeared to shove him as he forced his way inside, saying "this is not your building." 


The protestors were trying to get access to the board meeting in person, which was being streamed for the public on Zoom. KTVB reported masks are required to enter Southwest District Health, a public building. 


"You don't have authority to mandate masks for a human being," Bundy said to a board member at one point. 


“There was a disturbance, and we were called upon to keep the peace,” said Lt. Dave Wright of the Caldwell Police Department. He estimated there were about 50 protestors there.


During last week’s board meeting, Southwest District Health Director Nikki Zogg said the district had no plans to move back to Stage 3 restrictions, despite the rise in cases in Canyon County.


In the press release sent after cancelling the meeting Thursday, Southwest District Health said the board "recognizes the need to address the daily increase in COVID-19 case numbers as well as increases in COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths in the region."


Thursday’s meeting will be rescheduled, but the agenda has not yet been posted.